The Tourist Guide is a special job!


Samantha Maggi

The 5 most bizarre questions I've been asked

Imagine a conversation with a person you have just met and the ritual exchange of pleasantries that leads to the usual question: "What's your job ...?" I obviously answer: "I'm a tourist guide!" ...and here we are... moments of silence ... and then the usual comment "Wow! What a great job!" but the faces of many of these people show another thought: "But... is the tourist guide a "real job"?! I thought it was a hobby!".

Being a tourist guide and a tour leader for over twenty years, I have dropped into this situation several times and many other colleagues have confirmed me to have the same impression when they mention their job so here I would like to officially declare that.... YES! The tourist guide can be a full-time, normally paid job, certainly exciting but also demanding intellectually, physically, socially, if you want to do it in a good and professional way.

Fortunately every time I go out to work I do it with unchanged enthusiasm since I know that every day, every visitor, will be different and stimulating but certainly it is not a hobby although, unfortunately, there are also many NOT official guides around who work with a "hobbistic attitude".... but I don't want to waste time in polemics; today I want to share with you some aspects of my special job so I have thought about some of the funniest, most curious, strange things that I have been asked during my work!

Various and bizarre questions also thanks to the fact of guiding tours in different languages ​​and, therefore, with various cultures. Here is a short selection!

  1. What about, for example, that lovely gentleman who asked me, seriously, how many bricks had been used to build the Visconti Castle of Pavia ...?
  2. Another castle is the protagonist of the second strange question...We are in front of the Sforza Castle in Milan, this kind visitor next to me admires the imposant fortress, at the end of a half day Milan walking tour with his group, then he turns to me saying: " Wow! But...where are we? In Venice…?
  3. Again in Milan, another gentleman, walking through the automatic opening security doors to access the painting "The Last Supper" by Leonardo da Vinci which is located inside the Monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie, asked me "Was it a bank at that time?" ... He meant right inside the monastery, in the fifteenth century! I believe that automatic doors confused him!
  4. Leonardo 's Last Supper often raises innumerable questions, among which the one I would have never expected ... in silence, in front of the masterpiece, after my explanation, a lady whispers to me: "Beautiful painting the Last Supper but ... wasn't it in Jerusalem?" If he had been a foreign-language visitor I would have doubted that my explanation hadn't been clear but, in this case, we spoke the same language ...
  5. Then there were the six months of the Milan Expo ... I dare say glorious in terms of work oddities! Like that nice little group that kept asking me to help them to look for a train: they had a hour of free time to go around the exhibition pavilions but in that hour they wanted to take a train to visit the city of Milan and Lake Como ...Not the ones immortalized by beautifull pictures inside the suggestive Italian Pavilion they really wanted to visit the entire city of Milan and then also Lake Como by train, in one hour...

Sometimes tourist guides smile "inside themselves" in front of these questions but we always give answers without making people feel uncomfortable because we remember that, if we were in Japan, India, Singapore, Vietnam, Mexico maybe we would also ask questions that would make the local guides smile!

In addition to these funny episodes my job is also made of kind thoughts, sincere compliments, special moments, unexpected gifts that I would like to share with you and I will do it in one of the next articles! While waiting, you can smile at our job watching this funny comedy about us: "My life in ruins"

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Samantha Maggi

Da appassionata di storia e arte mi sono laureata nel 1999 in Scienze dei Beni Culturali all’ Università di Pavia per poi superare gli esami per diventare Guida Turistica Abilitata di queste splendide e così diverse città lombarde: Pavia, Milano, Como.
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2 comments for “La Guida Turistica un lavoro…speciale!”

  1. Le guide turistiche, preparate e disponibili -anche rispondere alle nostre sciocche domande! - ci consentono di conoscere la cultura dei luoghi in cui viviamo, in modo dinamico, come se stessimo leggendo un libro, ma guardando con i nostri occhi le meraviglie che ci circondano. Grazie per il vostro prezioso lavoro!

  2. È un lavoro molto serio e chi decide di farlo suo deve essere pronto a tutto e tutti.

Tourist guides Pavia

Tourist guides and guided visits Pavia, Charterhouse of Pavia, Milan and Como. Experience and in-depth knowledge of the area always told in an interesting, brilliant and curious way.

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